As part of a book report project my 8 year old son, Christopher, got his first interview at the site by speaking with Nick Bruel author and illustrator of the New York Times bestseller Bad Kitty books. Nick was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to talk about Bad Kitty for President and give us some info about his work on the new Bad Kitty book. What I found so interesting is how much Christopher learned about the government, as Nick Bruel does a great job at teaching some very confusing concepts in a very fun way.
Christopher: Will you write another Bad Kitty For President next election time?
Nick Bruel: I don’t think I’ll write a brand new book about her running for president, but I do foresee my updating this book for each election cycle if the election laws change, as they often do. You’ll know for certain if you see the words “Updated for 2016” on the cover.
Why did Old Kitty vote for Strange Kitty?
During the debate, Bad Kitty and Big Kitty were both asked a pretty straightforward question about how each would handle the stray cat issue. Big Kitty froze up and only talked about french fries. Bad Kitty took the opportunity to attack Big Kitty. In other words, neither kitty ever addressed the question. Only Strange Kitty showed us that he understood how complex the issue was. THAT is what appealed to Old Kitty.
Why did you want to write about President of the Neighborhood Cat Club?
I wanted to write a book about the upcoming presidential election. It seemed to me that there was a real opportunity for me to tell a Bad Kitty story while also talking about this very complex process that kids all over the country will hearing about. But it didn’t make any sense to me to have Kitty run for the actual presidential election. So, I thought it could work if I told the story of Kitty running for the office of President of the Neighborhood Cat Club while using the actual presidential election as my guidelines.
Who owns Old Kitty?
Good question. I don’t know. I don’t really know who owns any of the kitties in that neighborhood. All I can say for certain is that whoever owns Old Kitty doesn’t mind that he sleeps on the furniture.
If you were President of the Neighborhood Cat Club what laws would you make?
No loud meowing outside after 8:00 pm. Don’t scratch any furniture that doesn’t come from Ikea. Don’t play with catnip and drive at the same time.
Do you know what your next Bad Kitty book will be about?
I’m already working on it. Look for “Bad Kitty – School Daze” sometime in Winter, 2013 in which Kitty does something so heinous in the beginning of the book that she (and Puppy) are both sent to a pet obedience school.
How long does it take you to write a Bad Kitty book?
On average, it takes me about 9 months from concept to completion to make one of these books. “Bad Kitty Meets The Baby” took the least amount of time; I worked on that one for about 7 months total. “Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty” was the longest at 10 or 11 months.
Why does Kitty make commercials that aren’t true?
Well, to be fair, Kitty doesn’t really make any commercials that are untrue. Her own commercial about how “very, very good, good, good” she is might be weird and devoid of any real substance… but is it really a lie? As for the commercial made by the PAC, Kitty supposedly had nothing to do with making that commercial. In reality, it’s illegal for a candidate to help a PAC to make a commercial. Also, it’s important to note that the commercial about Big Kitty doesn’t actually say the he IS a dog… is only IMPLIES that he MIGHT be a dog. This is known as making a false association, and we can expect to see a lot of these in the real election.
Why does Chatty Kitty talk a lot?
The idea of Chatty Kitty comes from two sources. First, when I was thinking about the kinds of kitties I would create for “Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty,” I started thinking about all the kinds of kids I would see when I visited schools. There was always that one kid who was bigger than everyone else. That’s Big Kitty. There was always that one girl who was all dressed up for school. That’s Pretty Kitty. And there was always one of those kids who just liked to talk ALL THE TIME. That kid was the inspiration for Chatty Kitty. I also wanted to use a Siamese cat in my books, and it just so happens that this is a breed that likes to meow ALL THE TIME.
Did you ever run for any type of office?
Nope. Not even in school. I have to confess that there is a dark side of me that finds politics fascinating, but not so fascinating that I would ever want to live it as a career. I’m happy making books.
What cat would you give an endorsement?
My own cat Esmerelda. But only just before I feed her.
Thanks again to Nick Bruel and Roaring Brook Press to helping us put together this interview.